Everything in Moderation

Today, I lost my oldest and dearest friend to the Universe. No, she did not pass away, physically. But, she did, mentally. Here is what happened.

For years, she was seeing a therapist and was being treated with bi-polar medications. She had been through two failed marriages with abusive men. She had to fight everyday to get through everyday life. And, despite these challenges, she was incredibly funny and creative. We would talk on the phone for hours, until our stomachs hurt from laugher. We would visit eachother… me going to NYC….her coming to Philly.  We called eachother sisters because we were so closely tied. There were no secrets between us.

Then things started to change. At first, she would delve into self-help books. I joined her, because I was, also, suffering from on and off depression and failed relationships. Then, she decided to spend a summer in Woodstock,  renting a small bungalow by herself. She was totally isolated, listening to self help and meditation tapes. We were still close and everything seemed fine.  When she returned home, she stopped therapy and medications and  started spending hours at the local Siddha Yoga ashram. Many of these hours were devoted to intense meditations that lasted for 2-3 days.  At that point, her personality had altered significantly. She was spending all of her time in meditation and reading her guru’s lessons.  She attempted, many times, to have me join her on her “road to enlightenment” by sending me the lessons and numerous chanting tapes. I thought, sure I’ll give it a try, since I had been practicing Transcendental Meditation for  several years. After a few weeks, I noticed that my behavior was changing and not for the better. I felt, almost, brainwashed…or on the road to being brainwashed.   I stopped. She did not. Our conversations consisted of her incessently quoting her guru and attempting to save me. The talks about jobs, guys, movies etc were non exsistent, now.

Our calls became less frequent. She had nothing to say. If I didn’t share her beliefs, then we had nothing in common, according to her. During one of our last conversations, she informed me that she no longer called people.  She, had cut ties with her friends, except for one, who DID practice her 24/7 daily rituals. This made no sense to me. If a person is “enlightened” are they not more compassionate and loving?  Her indifference and condescending attitude seemed hypocritical to me.

Tonight was Thanksgivng. I had not called her for quite awhile and she had not reached out to me. So, I called.  I think our  conversation lasted for 5 minutes, tonight, rather than our usual marathon talks.  After some polite, superficial chat, I knew that she couldn’t wait to hang up.  Her last words to me were “thank you for calling….bye”

I am not, in any way, condemning a road to spirituality. I think most people, in their own way, are seeking something to help get them through this life.  But, in seeking to improve yourself, do it in moderation without losing yourself. Your authentic self is precious and unique. Hold on to it, because it is YOU. I still and always will love my friend/sister.